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Koh Phangan After Dark

6 Jul 2019

Koh Phangan: a place for lovers, family, friends, and partiers.

In the days between the lively parties on the island lie the most serene moments on the island. Adventuring during this time leads you to empty beach getaways, filled only with the chirps of birds and calming sounds of the sea brushing up against the perfectly white sandy beaches.

In the night one can find themselves on the same beach as the full moon party, but with only the travellers leftover from the nights prior: it is magnificent. Incredible fire performers bring you into their practice; one can participate in attempting the limbo underneath a pole of fire, or attempting to dance with fire the way locals do (and likely fail).

It’s a time to explore the roots of what the island has to offer. To appreciate the undercurrent of culture on the island; a time to get to know the locals, to learn of their experiences.

Just walking down the street to 7-11 at night one can be called over to hang out with a group of friends, they might offer you local drinks and attempt to get to know you. While the language barrier definitely exists, the challenge to move past it is fun and telling. If you can find yourself sitting around a table doing shots of Thai whiskey with 10 people who cannot speak your language, you’ve found yourself in the right place on the island. Getting to know these people as they try to connect with you reveals the heart of the island: the love and community to encounter along the way.

These chance meetings are perhaps the best part of coming to Koh Phangan, to stay only for the parties is to miss out on getting to know the people, understand their daily lives: their struggles and joys. Bridging the cultural divide is a challenge, but human emotion can bridge that gap. The best way to get through a language barrier is to express emotion through intonation and use of one’s arms - these are recognizable across all languages and cultures. Only days after this serenity comes the party scene. Every week this pattern occurs, and for good reason. The existence of parties brings travellers to the island: it stokes the economy, allows people to continue their lives here, as much of the tourism in Thailand and around Southeast Asia does. In the spaces between lodging might be near empty, the people can be seen outside of their normal working - it is their time to relax and prepare for the next load of tourists.

When you come to enjoy Koh Phangan, be sure to stick around for a few days after - get to know the island beyond the tourist-driven party seen - get to know the real Koh Phangan.